It's been almost 800 years since the city of Nizhny Novgorod was formed at the meeting point of the Volga and Oka rivers, which have always been major trade routes. This contributed greatly to Nizhny Novgorod becoming one of the biggest cultural and industrial centers in Russia. With each passing year, more and more people come here to see its places of interest, monuments and tourist attractions. You will learn where to go and what to see from our brief overview.
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
The first thing that you should definitely see is the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. This is the city’s main attraction. Built in the 16th century, the Kremlin served as a fortress defending the town from Tatar raids. A two-kilometer-long wall is decorated with thirteen towers, each of which has its own history and importance. When the Kremlin was no longer needed for military purposes, it became the heart of the city, and the city’s administrative authorities moved in. Now, the Kremlin is the administrative and cultural center of the city.
The Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin was constructed according to Leonardo da Vinci's plan of building dungeons. That’s why the Kremlin is one of a kind in Russia. It has never been captured throughout its entire history.
Besides towers, there are many more constructions in the Kremlin. The reconstruction of some buildings (after being destroyed by the Red Guards) has begun fairly recently. Those buildings are the House of Councils, barracks, government buildings, the Art Museum, the Philharmonic and many others.
As for the other constructions and historical buildings, they have been well preserved and are carefully protected. These buildings include:
- The Cathedral of the Archangel Michael (XVI century) is the oldest of all Kremlin constructions. This is where the remains of Kuzma Minin are buried.
- Obelisk and the memorial to Minin and Pozharsky
- The Memorial to the founder, Georgy, and St. Simon
- Eternal Fire Memorial
- The Governor's House (now State Art Museum)
- The Weapons Arsenal (now National Center of Contemporary Arts "Arsenal")
- The Alley of Glory, where the vehicles and the weapons from the Second World War are displayed (the alley starts from the Dmitrievskaya Tower of the Kremlin)
- The Big Bell
Apart from the places mentioned above, you can visit the Kremlin itself. The entrance is located in one of its towers and you can come in for a small fee.
The Kremlin area looks beautiful and cozy. There is a lot of space to walk and various tours are available for visitors. There is no doubt that you will not only take some beautiful pictures, but you will also have a great time here. A tour to the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin offers an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the centuries-old history of the Russian people.
Kremlin working hours: every day from 10:00 to 20:00
Ticket price: from 100 rubles.
Photos: free of charge
Fun atmosphere: guaranteed
Near the Georgievskaya Kremlin Tower, you can find the city’s main observation deck, which gives a great view over the Volga and the protected area located on the river’s left bank. The famous Chkalov Staircase goes down to the river, which is made up of 560 steps. The top of the staircase is designed in the shape of two huge circles. The staircase was named after famous Russian test-pilot Valery Chkalov, who was first in the world to perform a nonstop flight over the North Pole along the Moscow – Vancouver route. There is a memorial to Chkalov on top of the construction. The speedboat Geroi (Hero), which took part in The Battle of Stalingrad, is installed at the bottom of the staircase.
This staircase is rightfully considered to be the city’s main observation deck.
Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street
After visiting the Kremlin you can go to the stone paved Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street, which is filled with a variety of statues. For example, at the very beginning of the street you will be met by a Postman with a Bicycle. So be sure to charge your camera beforehand! 🙂
If you continue to walk along this street you will come across a big building that is painted in the Khokhloma style. It is a souvenir shop called Art Crafts (Khudozhestvennye Promysly).
Inside the shop you get the feeling that you have gotten into a museum of Russian traditional arts and crafts. In fact, you can find all sorts of stuff here: dishes painted in the Khokhloma or Gzhel styles, matryoshkas, Dymkovo toys, Pavlovo Posad Shawls and much, much more. A few minutes away from the shop there is a Children’s Puppet Theatre where you can bring your kids and have a great time.
Further on you will see the N. I. Lobachevsky State University building, with souvenir sellers and painters right in front.
There are a lot of beautiful buildings on Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street, but the most amazing is the Nizhny Novgorod Central Bank, which reminds you of a medieval castle. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed inside, but apart from this bank there are lots of other fascinating things to see here, so let’s move on!
Ahead there is the House of Culture (Dom Kultury) where diverse exhibitions are held. The Nizhny Novgorod regional Courthouse is located right across the street.
If you go further, you will see the Nizhny Novgorod Drama Theatre, which is more than 100 years old. The building is surrounded by numerous monuments.
Here you will also find the sculpture of the Funny Goat, that is loved both by locals and the tourists who come here to take a picture with it and rub its back (as the legend goes, those who rub the Goat’s back have all their wishes come true).
If you go a little further you will come across an amusing place of art, Kladovka. This is a small space where one can find little things from the eighties that are so dear to heart but seemed to be lost in time. The yard near the entrance is decorated with old bicycles, movie posters and painted benches. The shop sells all kinds of old things, mostly vinyl records and postcards. The entrance fee is very small, costing just 50 rubles.
So, as you may have already imagined, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street is a long pedestrian street with lots of impressive historical buildings. It is full of funny sculptures and monuments, cozy cafes and restaurants. Everyone will be able to find something to occupy themselves. Stunning architecture is also one of its major advantages, this is the kind of architecture you can fall in love with.
Nizhny Novgorod Railway Museum, called Locomotives of Russia, is another tourist attraction in the city. The museum collection includes 15 retro locomotives (each with its own unique history) presented in an open-air exhibition. Most of these locomotives were produced by USSR plants in different cities; however, you can also find items built in Sweden or Germany. There are all kinds of cargo, industrial and passenger locomotives.
One of the items displayed in the museum is famous for the fact that at the end of the 20th century, the legendary British princess Diana travelled on this train.
You will not regret a minute of your time here! Here you can breathe in the air of the past and travel there in a snap of your fingers. Visitors are allowed to touch all the exhibits, which is always good news for kids who love to climb and explore everything (adults are welcome to climb and explore too).
Entrance: free of charge.
Location: 200 meters far from the Nizhny Novgorod – Sortirovochny platform
Cable Car over the Volga River
Another thing you should definitely do while in Nizhny Novgorod is take the cable car that stretches over the Volga River and links Nizhny Novgorod and Born (a small town across the river). This is the only cableway in Russia that crosses over a river, which spans almost 862 meters wide. Its total length accounts for 3l5 kilometers, which the cable car travels in 12.5 minutes. During this travel time you will have the wonderful opportunity to admire a picturesque view over the Volga.
Advice: it's better not to take the cable car in winter, because, first, due to weather conditions the trip can be delayed, and, second, the view will not be as pleasant and diverse as, for example, in summer or fall.
A few interesting facts about Nizhny Novgorod:
1. At the Sennaya bus station and at the start of Bolshaya Pecherskaya Street there are vending machines with sparkling water that look just like those from the times of the USSR. If you want to drink regular soda, you will have to pay 5 rubles; cherry-flavored soda costs 10 rubles. The vending machines were installed by a local enthusiast.
2. In the Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum there is one of the biggest paintings in the world, called Appeal of Kuzma Minin to the Citizens of Nizhny Novgorod, painted by Konstantin Makovsky. The canvas is 7 x 6 meters.
3. Chkalov Staircase is the longest in the country.
4. An abundance of old low-rise buildings is a distinctive feature of Nizhny Novgorod.
5. Famous Russian writer Eduard Uspensky came up with the name for one of the characters of his books when he was in this city. His friend saw his daughter trip on the bottom of her long fur coat and exclaimed "Oh no, she cheburahnulas' (Russian colloquial word which here means "stumbled and fell") again". This specific word got stuck in Uspensky's head and, eventually, he modified it a little bit and named one of the most famous book and cartoon characters among Russian children. The character’s name is Cheburashka.
6. In the period from the 1930’s to the 1940’s Nizhny Novgorod was referred to as Russian Detroit, because this was the period when industry development was in just beginning to blossom.
7. During excavations before the construction of the Regional Government House, Archaeologist Igor Eryomin found the remains of the men who lived here during 10,000-15,000 B.C.
8. There are 600 unique historical monuments in the city.
9. Nizhny Novgorod was a closed city up until 1991. Foreigners were not allowed here under any circumstances.
The third capital of Russia. Frontier fortress. One of the main trade centers. Fascinating and diverse city. Nizhny Novgorod was included in the list of 100 cities that represent historical and cultural value by UNESCO for a good reason. Unique historical monuments of culture and architecture are something totally worth visiting and seeing.
Come to Nizhny Novgorod and see everything for yourself!